Scientists are often specialised in their individual fields therefore it is often necessary for groups of different specialists to work together on one project. The scientists can then use their individual skills and knowledge together to solve a problem. This kind of collaboration is particularly evident in Antarctica where only a limited number of people are able to visit at any one time.
Points of interest for the teachers:
- Students may want to consider that there are three key people involved in Megan’s research, who are they are and what is each person bringing to the project?
DR MEGAN BALKS
Scientists need to work together. The range of knowledge and skills that we need is really large and so everyone has their own special areas of expertise for instance with the group that I worked with, Jacqui is a microbiologist so she’s an expert on the micro-organisms. My particular area of expertise is in the soils and how they form and the ways that we describe and analyse them. People like Leah our student who’s getting involved, she’s been doing a lot of work with the data loggers and learning how to programme them and drive them and so she has some skills that I don’t even have and so that’s an important contribution into the programme to be working with some of those things. So everyone ends up with their very specialist areas and we’re all part of a programme. The Antarctic research is such it’s very expensive to travel down there, the logistics, support is very expensive and so you can’t take more people than you absolutely need. You’ve got to be pretty clear about exactly whose going and why and what their skills are and what they’re going to contribute to the project. It’s also important that everyone has got things to do. There’s nothing worst than standing around in Antarctica in the cold waiting for everyone else to do something. You’ve got to have everyone busy, working, so that you’re all involved in helping to progress the work.